Week Forty-Two, 2019
By Florida Senator John Grant, Retired
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body…. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Corinthians 4:8–10, 17–18).
At first it was a light pain and then it intensified. While I was in church that morning I was in a lot of pain. My wife insisted that we go to the ER and with her insistence, we did. An examination revealed that I had a large blood clot in my lower leg. I was immediately admitted and put on a blood thinner. After a couple of days, I was allowed to go home.
My cardiologist and friend heard I was there and came to visit. He said that as long as I was there, he was going to do a heart cath. He did and found that I had a significant blockage in my “widow maker” artery. He inserted a stent and all was well. My thought was what might have happened to me had I not had the clot and hospitalization. While the clot was not fun, it may have saved my life.
God does that …. Walking us through rough times to lead us where we otherwise would not have gone. James 1:1-4 tells us when we face trials, we can see it as a positive thing in our life because ultimately, we are going to grow from it. That’s hard to realize when our pain is all we can see and feel. But, after you’ve experienced life as a follower of Jesus, and you’ve experienced His faithfulness, then you know it’s true.
James regarded trials as inevitable. He said when, not if you fall into various trials. At the same time trials are occasions for joy, not discouraged resignation. We can count it all joy in the midst of trials because they are used to produce patience.
Faith is tested through trials, not produced by trials. Trials reveal what faith we do have; not because God doesn’t know how much faith we have, but so that our faith will be evident to ourselves and to those around us. Trouble is faith’s best friend
In God’s strange and wonderful ways of ruling this world, life’s most painful trials serve a special purpose for our good. God often draws his straightest lines from life’s greatest difficulties to our deepest and sweetest joys.
God’s preserving work in us through our pain and difficulty is essential to what matters most, and James makes that connection explicit: “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
PORN IN THE CHURCH (A Barna Study)
• Most pastors (57%) and youth pastors (64%) admit they have struggled with porn, either currently or in the past.
• Overall, 21% of youth pastors and 14% of pastors admit they currently struggle with using porn.
• About 12% of youth pastors and 5% of pastors say they are addicted to porn
• 87% of pastors who use porn feel a great sense of shame about it.
• 55% of pastors who use porn say they live in constant fear of being discovered.
• The vast majority of faith leaders who struggle with porn say this has significantly affected their ministry in a negative manner. It is not clear why, but youth pastors are twice as likely as pastors to report this kind of unfavorable impact.
• Only 8% of pastors think that a pastor should resign his/her position if he is struggling with porn. Most pastors think he should deal with the struggle through counseling or accountability.
• In contrast, 41% of adult Christians think that pastors should be fired or asked to resign if they are found to be using porn.
• 93% of pastors and 94% of youth pastors say it is a much bigger or somewhat bigger problem than it was in the past.
• More than half of youth pastors have had at least one teen come to them for help in dealing with porn in the past 12 months.
• Although teens seeking help are mainly teen boys, there is still a significant amount of teen girls seeking help from youth pastors.
• Men of all ages and stages, but especially married men, are coming to pastors for help with pornography struggles.
• Despite the awareness of the problem, most churches do not have programs specifically designed to assist those struggling with porn use.
— o —
The emerging generation that calls the shots:
If you want to gain a following today, emphasize community and tolerance. That’s the message of a recent report in the Wall Street Journal.
Here’s the good news: a survey revealed that Americans believe strongly in the principles of hard work, patriotism, commitment to religion, and the goal of having children. Here’s the bad news: that survey was taken twenty-one years ago.
When the same survey was conducted recently, it found that “religion, belief in God” was valued by 67 percent of older adults (ages fifty-five to ninety-one) but only 30 percent of young adults (ages eighteen to thirty-eight). Patriotism values ranged from 79 percent for older adults to 42 percent for young adults. Having children ranged from 54 percent for older adults to 32 percent for young adults.
However, a higher percentage of young adults than older adults value community involvement (61 percent vs. 58 percent) and tolerance for others (83 percent vs. 79 percent).
One of the pollsters who conducted the report noted: “There’s an emerging America where issues like children, religion and patriotism are far less important. And in America, it’s the emerging generation that calls the shots about where the country is headed. Jim Denison
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
But before God could change me, He needed to mature me. And before God could mature me, He needed to move me. Lecrae Moore
Obviously, I support abortion. I can’t believe people would want to protect unborn children. Taylor Swift
If you are not moving, you are not a part of the movement. Ken Whitten
Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Master Composer
We never win at money by comparing our possessions with others. The Minimalist
Partial obedience is joyless because it entails partial sacrifice, but forfeits what God can give only to those who are fully his.
Jonathan Edwards helped spark the First Great Awakening that transformed our colonial nation and is widely considered the greatest theologian America has ever produced. His secret? He lived by the resolution “never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.”